Ho Ho Ho and Here We Go!

Loveys, we're a few days out from my last post. I've had my foot surgery and have begun recovery. The surgery went well (thank you so much for the prayers, loveys!), but it's back to immobility for a little while. Back to rest and stillness. Probably just what I need at the moment.

The presents are all bought and wrapped. The packages have been shipped that need to make their way to family members out of state. We've been to see Santa. And the parties have been thrown. Well, my parties. The kids have all kinds of Christmas fun at school next week, but this mom will have to sit those out. Me and my boot will be at home, watching Hallmark Christmas movies most likely. That's okay.

Back to the holiday spirit floating around at my house last weekend! It was my only real weekend of good mobility in between foot surgeries and I wanted to make the most of it! I love Christmas parties, loveys, you know this. So last Saturday morning I hosted a Christmas tea party at my house. We had brunch and tea, and there was a "Make Your Own Ornament" station so that everyone got to go home with a gift.

The truth is that this is my sixth year hosting a Christmas party. For five years, I've thrown an Ornament Exchange with many of these same neighbor friends. This year, I wanted to mix it up a little just to make things different, but I still wanted everyone to go home with an ornament. So Saturday morning my neighbors and friends came over and we drank tea and ate yummy breakfast foods and scones and toasted the Christmas season with mimosas. I loved it. My lovely sister Sara came and helped me so much. I loved having a house full of neighbors! What a blessing! These women are so special. I hope they all had as much fun as I did.

After all that Christmassy goodness Saturday morning, the Jeffster had to help me clean house to get ready for party number 2. I invited a group of church friends over for an Ornament Exchange Sunday evening. I'm not sure why you can have all day to prepare for a party, but that last hour turns you into a crazy woman and nothing is ever ready. My friend Nancy came over a little early to help. She walks in and I say to her frantically, I don't think we have enough dessert! She sets down the stuff she brought and immediately drives back to her house for more cookies and goodies. Wonderful friend. (Thx, Nance.)

This was my first year hosting these girls for an Ornament Party. They are such a fun group! It was a storyteller-kind of Christmas party and we shared some wonderful Christmas stories and traditions. You always hope these kinds of parties will go off well and that everyone has a good time. I'm always a little nervous, to be honest, but I'm glad afterward. Because a house full of friends, with wine and appetizers and gifts and cheesecake--well, that's my kind of evening.

I've found that sometimes the best way to insure you get invited to a holiday party, lovey, is just to host one yourself. It's not that hard, really. Put a group of women in a room together and we can usually just entertain ourselves. Add in wine and good food and your night is made. This year, I needed easy appetizers because standing on my feet all day and cooking wasn't an option. I did make bacon-wrapped dates (from Shauna Niequist's Bread and Wine). I seriously could have eaten the pan all by myself, but I shared. It's Christmas and all that. ;)

In case you don't know the recipe, here it is:

Buy a bag of pitted dates (you find them on the baking aisle, near raisins and cranberries and craisins)
Buy about 3 oz of softened goat cheese (deli section or near produce with specialty cheeses)
Buy a package of bacon ( I really recommend maple bacon. It makes it 200 percent better. Cut the slices of bacon in half)

Slice open a date, stuff in a little cheese, wrap it in bacon, place it on a foil-lined baking sheet, seam down. Do that over and over. Then cook at 400 degrees for twenty minutes.

Now eat. Fast. Before anyone else gets home.

Or, you know, share with all your friends. :)

It's that time of year. Gathering together with friends and family. A little cozy girls' night in is always a good thing. It can be intimidating to host. It intimidates me, too. But it's worth it to me. At this point, it's become tradition. And I'm so grateful to the friends (and Sara) who came out to share some holiday cheer together at my house.

Now we're on to Christmas over here. A week of school programs and kids' Christmas parties and more doctor's appointments. And then, can you believe it?, Christmas week after next. Are you ready, lovey? I think we are, for the most part. My children had such a wonderful time seeing Santa this week. Precious moments in my life. Moments to remember.

Christmas tea with wonderful ladies. An evening ornament exchange with sweet girlfriends. I hope those gatherings blessed the women who came. I definitely was blessed by the company.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas, loveys. With quiet, blissful moments of reflection. With moments filled with laughter and conversation and squeals of glee as people open presents. I wish you a holiday with peace and joy and love.

There's chaos everywhere in our world, lovey. All the more reason to tune out the myriad voices for a minute and hold tight to the ones we love. To offer up a prayer for those who are hurting and suffering. To pray for peace and goodwill toward men. To love on our families.

Maybe, just maybe, you'll see a Christmas miracle.

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